Barnsley 0 Wolves 0 – Report and pictures
Wolves drew 0-0 for the second consecutive game as it finished goalless against Barnsley.
A turgid first half passed by with barely any goalmouth action other than Helder Costa's strike which was ruled offside.
The game finally livened up in the final 20 minutes with Diogo Jota hitting the bar and missing a golden chance from close range, while Barnsley went close through Adam Hammill and George Moncur, but neither team could find a winner.
They huffed and they puffed but Wolves just couldn't blow the Barnsley door down.
This was a rare off day for Nuno Espirito Santo's team who, despite a late resurgence, failed to produce a single shot on target for the first time this season, writes Tim Spiers at Oakwell.
The first half was an almost instantly forgettable snoozefest. After the belated introduction of Ivan Cavaleiro Wolves markedly improved (the third time in four matches that's happened) and twice went close through DIogo Jota who smacked the crossbar with a stupendous effort and then somehow missed from about a yard out when sliding in at the back post.
Barnsley had their moments too, also in the closing stages, but prodded wide twice.
And despite a mini barrage from either flank in the final minutes Wolves just couldn't find that one moment of magic to send their travelling hordes into delirium.
Disappointment then for the 4,700 away fans and indeed the watching Guo Guangchang and Jorge Mendes, who we can only presume were treated to some pie-based hospitality.
The negatives? Wolves couldn't find a winner against a struggling team and were generally below their best. The positives? They're now 13 games unbeaten, have kept yet another clean sheet and are 10 points clear of second place. Can't complain, can you.
Nuno reverted to the team that had beaten Brentford 3-0 in Wolves' last Championship match, meaning six changes were made from last weekend's 0-0 FA Cup draw with Swansea.
That meant no place in the XI for Ivan Cavaleiro, while new signing Rafa Mir was again on the bench.
Barnsley had ex-Wolves winger Adam Hammill in their line up with former Walsall striker Tom Bradshaw up front and new striker Kieffer Moore named as a substitute.
Almost 5,000 travelling fans roared Wolves onto the field and it was all set up for an entertaining encounter at Oakwell...however the first half was as dreary as anything witnessed at a Wolves match this season.
The visitors started well but the game soon descended into an ugly scrappy affair with ponderous Wolves lacking imagination, tempo and ideas.
Sure, Barnsley were organised, resolute and certainly not shy in putting a tackle in. But by Wolves' very high standards they just weren't on it.
Matt Doherty and Diogo Jota both required treatment during the first 45 and there were, unhelpfully for a crowd almost bored to tears, six minutes of added time.
Ruben Neves sent a dipping 20-yarder just over the bar in what was Wolves' best moment of the half as they failed to muster a shot on target.
Helder Costa had a couple of bright moments including a great finish from 15 yards, albeit he was in an offside position. The newly-blonde Romain Saiss stood out in midfield not just for his new appearance but also for holding things together in midfield and producing a couple of excellent passes. But that was about it from Nuno's team.
At the other end Barnsley posed little threat, with crosses and set pieces their bag, however they found John Ruddy in commanding form.
It was an instantly forgettable half. Wolves were crying out for an increased tempo and the introduction of Ivan Cavaleiro, with the two going hand in hand of late.
Nuno thought waited until the 64th minute to send for him, with Helder Costa the man to depart.
Things had improved at the start of the second half with an increased sense of purpose about Wolves' play but keeper Davies remained untested. Wolves did have the ball in the net again via Jota but again he was flagged offside, while a teasing inswinging Barry Douglas corner just evaded Saiss and Ryan Bennett.
Coady produced a crucial interception in the six yard box and Mallan stung Ruddy's palms with a decent long-ranger but Wolves were holding Barnsley at bay relatively comfortably.
The problems were at the other end and other than a potent Cavaleiro corner which Saiss glanced wide, Wolves were still subdued.
Bonatini horribly misjudged a close range shot from the left, lofting it miles over, and that was his last action with new boy Rafa Mir called for with 18 minutes to go.
With the game opening up there was then a real scare when Hammill prodded inches wide from 10 yards before Jota, from nowhere, unleashed a 20-yard thunderbolt that almost broke the crossbar, but bounced to safety. It was the quality Wolves had been lacking and after this and two offside goals, despite a below par performances Wolves were beginning to count themselves unfortunate.
Cavaleiro had, again, made a difference from the bench and it was his ball across goal that created Wolves' chance of the match, where inexplicably the off-balance Jota diverted the ball over from about a yard out.
Wolves were seriously knocking at the door now, overloading the Barnsley defence and getting plenty of joy down the flanks. Then Barnsley went desperately close again when Moncur drove wide from a great position in what was the last meaningful chance of the game.
75 – Diogo Jota unleashes a 20-yard thunderbolt that cannons off the crossbar.
80 – Brilliant work from Ivan Cavaleiro who plays across goal where Jota somehow diverts the ball over from about a yard out.
83 – Moncur drives a free shot past the post from 12 yards for Barnsley.
Barnsley (4-3-3): Davies; Cavare, Pinnock, Lindsay, Yiadom; Potts, Gardner, Mallan; Hammill, Bradshaw, Isgrove (Moncur, 45). Subs: Townsend, McCarthy, Pearson, Thiam, Brown, Moore.
Wolves (3-4-3): John Ruddy; Bennett, Coady (c), Boly; Doherty, Saiss, Neves, Douglas; Costa (Cavaleiro, 64), Bonatini (Mir, 72), Jota. Subs: Norris, Hause, N'Diaye, Gibbs-White, Enobakhare.
Attendance: 16,050 (4,701 Wolves fans)
Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)
1st (62 points from 27 matches)